News Briefs: AMC Is Planning a Close Encounter with Area 51

By Tim Surette

Jul 28, 2012


... AMC will be losing Breaking Bad and Mad Men soon, so it's time to replenish the trough. The network has settled on aliens, or at least the possibility of aliens, and will be developing Area 51. Based on the book of the same name by Annie Jacobsen, the drama will take a look at the famed spot in the Nevada desert where it's been rumored that an alien spacecraft crash-landed more than a half-century ago. It's likely the series would focus on government cover-ups and not aliens, though, so don't tape up your "The Truth Is Out There" poster just yet. [NY Post]

... Hey, you love The Hunger Games, right? Well the movie that The Hunger Games stole from was based on was influenced by had a lot in common with was the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale, and The CW, always ready to capitalize on a craze, is talking about adapting it for television. The network has just started to discussions with the owners of the property, so don't get your Japanese schoolgirl uniform dry-cleaned just yet. On second thought, do get it dry-cleaned. I know what you used it for last time. [LA Times]

... Discovery has ordered a five-part reality series called One Car Too Far, about two men and a car as they rough it in remote parts of Chile. The two survival specialists and gearheads will have to make weapons to defend themselves with and use nature to deal with any car problems they might have. It's like Top Gear meets Man vs. Wild meets Two and a Half Men. Because I won't watch it, I mean. [THR]


... Billie Joe Armstrong, the frontman for Green Day, is taking all the cred he built up as a rocker and throwing it away for a chance to mentor Christina Aguilera's team on The Voice. [Associated Press]

... Victoria is coming back! How I Met Your Mother is bringing back actress Ashley Williams for a few episodes of Season 8 to settle her and Ted's possible romance, despite the fact that she's supposed to be getting married any minute. [TV Line]

... ABC's Scandal has book Gregg Henry (Hung) and Jillian Armenante (The Dark Knight Rises) for recurring roles in Season 2. Not many more details on this one, sorry! [Deadline Hollywood]

... What, you thought there would be no American Horror Story casting news? Franka Potente, who you should know as the girl from Run Lola Run but might know less-hiply as the girl from The Bourne Identity movies, has joined American Horror Story. She'll play a patient at the mental institution that's central to Season 2. [TV Line]


... Lupe Ontiveros, who was nominated for a guest actor Emmy for her role as Juanita in Desperate Housewives, has passed away at age 69. The Mexican-American Ontiveros also appeared The Goonies, Selena, and was most recently seen in CBS' short-lived Rob as the grandmother that Rob got caught almost having sex with. [TMZ]

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • LiseLotteDive Jul 30, 2012

    I desperately needed something to watch and scrolled through imdb and ran into a show called Roswell. I got the entire first season and have more or less wasted an entire summers weekend watching. So very naive, mainstream and simple...and yet so incredibly addictive. One of the funniest things is watching the actors before fame. GREAT.

  • dh4645 Jul 29, 2012

    where's mad men going? i wouldnt say "soon" breaking bad is going away soon since this is it's last season. MM still has at least 2 more seasons

  • JoshuaDavis3 Jul 29, 2012

    I might take some shit by saying this: I don't think a few minutes on a reality show competition as a mentor ruins anyone's rock cred..No i don't watch the Voice, nor do i care for Green Day..Just my opinion. I think 5 years ago it was a big thing for D-list celebs to be judges on these kinds of shows or mentors, whatever..Now, it's not really frowned upon as much for an A-lister to be involved

  • smithinjapan Jul 29, 2012

    AMC almost always scores, so hopefully their new show will, too.

    As for the similarities between The Hunger Games and Battle Royal, the latter was a ridiculous movie which the director himself said was meant as a message of how all human beings should promote brotherhood and team-play. The story wasn't the first of its kind, either, just the absolutely gratuitous violence (I mean, how DOESN'T stuffing dynamite in the mouth of someone you've decapitated to cool a couple of school girls denote 'brotherhood'??).

  • Writerpatrick Jul 29, 2012

    Battle Royale was originally a Japanese novel that proceeded The Hunger Games:

  • aknu Jul 29, 2012

    craft landed in roswell new mexico, nevada is the secret base with all teh alienz and experiments.. zomg :D

  • GHOST_DOG_DMC Jul 29, 2012

    A prime time show about teenagers murdering each other on network TV...great idea, I wonder if the CW will also keep the genital mutilation in their version of Battle Royale?

  • CharmedOneP391 Jul 30, 2012

    if some of the teenagers are evil or demonic in some way and some of them are human it should be okay. Supernatural stabbed a monster who was a mother in front of her son and chops off monsters heads stabs people who are possessed through the throat all the time. or were you being sincere, lol?

  • Mate Jul 29, 2012

    Well if I recall the reviews I read on the book of Area 51 is that it was more about the Government and the whole espionage aspect of Area 51. Especially in the cold war. So it could very well not be about Aliens at all. It could simply be able the men and women that work there and try to keep the secret of it. Which could be interesting if it was written well. Also depending on what timeline they write the story in. It started in the late 50's as a place in the middle of nowhere to test new planes. And then it the 60's they built buildings there and built more secret planes. The SR-71 spy plane was made there. The stealth bomber and the stealth fighter I believe were both built there as well. So I don't think it is going to be entirely if at all anything about aliens. It is AMC, aside from making The Killing and doing away with Rubicon, they are pretty good for shows.

  • Writerpatrick Jul 28, 2012

    I seem to recall seeing a failed pilot for an Area 51 sitcom just a few years ago. But the whole Area 51 thing is over. Everyone knows it's just a secret government research facility.

  • Geertvdheide Jul 28, 2012

    Just because there might be nothing going on there in real life, doesn't mean a compelling show can't be made out of the concept. You don't believe the Hawaiian island of Oahu really has polar bears, Dharma stations and smoke monsters do you?

  • Loooooooooooost Jul 28, 2012

    I will always know Franka Potente, even though I have only seen her in Run Lola Run. I'm so hip geriatrics are jealous of me. And poor, poor Battle Royale :c

  • hockeyrick Jul 28, 2012

    Hey Tim, the "craft" didnt land there, it was moved there!!!!!